Fans invited to discuss league structure plans

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Brechin City supporters were due to attend a fans meeting at Glebe Park’s 1983 Hospitality Lounge to discuss the proposed league restructure as the Brechiner went to print yesterday (Tuesday).

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) announced on January 8 that the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and the Scottish Football League (SFL) had agreed “a set of principles, to be voted on by their respective member clubs, designed to deliver radical restructuring of the senior game.”

Member clubs of both the SPL and SFL are due to vote on the proposals at the end of this month, after the Brechin Advertiser goes to print.

Under the new proposals the SPL and the SFL member clubs will form three leagues, rather than the four that are currently in place.

The new structure would see the creation of a Premier Division, a Championship Division and a National League. The top flight, the Premier Division, will contain 12 teams, the Championship, will also contain 12 teams and the other 18 teams in the SFL would form the National League.

The restructure would see the top two leagues split in to three leagues of eight teams after 22 matches have been played. The teams would then play a further seven home matches and seven away matches.

The top eight teams would compete for the Premier Division title and European places.

The middle eight would be contesting four promotion and relegation spots to and out of the Premier Division.

The bottom eight teams of the Championship would be involved in a survival series and promotion/relegation play-off matches with the teams at the top of the National league.

Under the reconstruction plans, the SPL and the SFL would be replaced by a single governing body.

In order for the proposal to be approved, 11 out of the 12 SPL teams and 23 out of the 30 SFL teams need to vote in favour of the reconstruction.

Using the current league standings, under the new proposals, the top eight teams battling for the Premier Division title and European spots would be Celtic, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, St. Johnston, Dundee United and Kilmarnock.

Hearts, Ross County, St. Mirren, Dundee, Morton, Partick Thistle, Dunfermilne and Livingston would all be battling for promotion and relegation spots to the Premier Division and Championship respectively.

Falkirk, Raith Rovers, Hamilton, Dumbarton, Cowdenbeath, Airdrie United, Queen of the South and Alloa would all be battling it out to avoid relegation to the National League.

In the National League, Brechin City would be top of the division, ahead of Angus rivals Arbroath and Forfar.

The SFA has also stated that the reconstruction would see the introduction of a “fairer financial distribution model”.

The plans are based on recommendations on the Henry McLeish Review of Scottish Football.

If the proposals were to be approved, a statement from the SFA has said the restructure “will be implemented as soon as practicably possible.”

The SFL has said in a statement that their position on the issue has “consistently been clear.”

Their statement continued: “We have been advocates of change and we have supported the possibility of a larger top league but we recognise that this is unlikely to be deliverable in the current financial climate.

“We do, however, support the fundamental principles which are crucial to the short and long-term future of the game we are so proud of.”

Speaking on January 8, after the announcement, Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive said: “The SPL have agreed to a more equitable redistribution of wealth, while the SFL have agreed to opening up a pyramid system for the first time.

“We have taken strides towards real change for the Scottish game, and now we must present these proposals to the clubs, who will ultimately decide on the way forward.”